Q. How do I know what formula is right for my baby? Where can I get information about formula feeding?
A. The most common formulas are cows milk based and are recommended unless your baby has a medical condition (such as allergies or lactose intolerance). All formulas in Australia meet a very high standard. It is best to start with a newborn formula and stay with this until advised by your health professional. Always follow the instructions carefully on the tin when preparing formula. Never water down, use half scoops or add an extra scoop. You can contact the Karitane Careline or your Child and Family Health Nurse if you need more information about formula and bottle feeding.
Q. I constantly hear about breastfeeding promoting closeness. As I have chosen to formula feed, how can I use feed times to promote closeness?
A. It is important to always hold your baby when bottle feeding. Encourage eye contact by talking gently to your baby during the feed and holding her close to your body. If your partner and other family members are giving your baby a bottle feed, encourage them to also take the opportunity to talk, hold her closely during feeds and enjoy this special time.
Q. How do I clean and sterilize the bottles. Do I need to boil the water?
A. Cooled, boiled water should be used to make formula until the baby is twelve months old. Bottled and spring water is not recommended as it does not contain the added fluoride needed for healthy teeth. Extra fluoride might need to be added in country areas. The quality of local water supplies can be checked with local council or the water board.
All equipment must be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and sterilized by boiling for 5 minutes or by using a sterilizing solution/tablet for the first twelve months. Microwave or electric steam sterilizers may also be used. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Clean equipment well by using a bottlebrush to reduce the risk of gastroenteritis. Take extra care with teats by pushing the water through the hole to clear any left over milk.
Q. Can I carry warm milk out with me so I am prepared for a feed?
A. Once the milk has been warmed, it is important that it is used quickly, within 1 hour. This is to reduce the risk of gastroenteritis. It is best to take cooled boiled water with you and a measured amount of formula in a small sterilized container and mix them just before the feed. If possible, ask for some hot water to heat the freshly made up formula or feed at room temperature.